Test-optional applications expand student choices, but can also require schools to want to see more academic information than grades through Junior year.
For that reason, students should understand that if a school defers your application from early action to regular decision, they are saying, we want to see more! The silver lining is you are still being considered and have time to add content to your application to improve your admission probability. Regular decision notifications are typically in April.
Think of your deferral as giving admissions “another bite of the apple,” and providing you time to re-assess your best fit school. Consider the game plan listed below.
Remaining Applications – Review your college list balance. Is it too aggressive? If so consider completing additional good-fit schools that are target for your academic profile and offer rolling or regular decision applications.
Know the rules – Not following policies is a surefire way to annoy admissions. Review what additional materials (if any) the college will consider and how to submit this content. Do not resend the content already presented in your initial application. The University of Georgia gives a great example of deferral next steps. This is a good read, for any student or parent.
Tell the school your intent – If the college remains your top choice, write a short letter to admissions letting them know, detailing why you think the college is your best fit. In the letter, update any additional achievements since you submitted your early application.
Additional Materials – You can also send additional letters of recommendation, mid-year grade reports, improved SAT/ACT scores, or the status of new awards that could strengthen your file. Introspectively consider why the deferral might have occurred and use new content to fill the gap.
Review Your Key College Criteria – Now is also a good time to review must-have college criteria. Do other colleges on your application list also meet those criteria? Do any of those schools offer Early Decision II options to consider?
Your best-fit college will unfold in due time. Easier said than done but recognizing what you need to let go of can bring peace – the need for certainty, perfectionism, or comparison to others? You are good enough, and I wish you peace and joy this Advent season!